A double shot of black type racing headlines a bumper 10-race program at Melbourne’s Caulfield Racecourse this afternoon including the sprinters facing off in the Bel Esprit Stakes 2015.
Punters have to stick around until the final two races on the card to see the Listed features, starting with Caulfield Race 9 at 4:45pm (AEST) – the $120,000 Listed TROA Bel Esprit Stakes (1100m).
A final field of 16 is now down to 15 following the scratching of #15 African Pulse who had the outside alley.
Bel Esprit Stakes betting at Ladbrokes.com.au features five single figure hopes all close in the markets, narrowly lead by $4.80 favourite Gregers.
The David Hayes & Tom Dabernig-trained Commands mare has the inside alley in the short distance showdown this afternoon and comes off a nice second over 955m at Moonee Valley behind dual Group 1 winner Platelet from March 27.
She’s after her first win since the Group 3 Cockram Stakes (1200m) here at Caulfield last August, which was her third win at the track she’ll no doubt appreciate returning to with the nice alley for the Bel Esprit.
Four-year-old Gregers has firmed in from $5.50 to her $4.80 price but is followed very closely in the Bel Esprit Stakes odds by the market mover Runway Star.
Despite a wide barrier 12 draw, the Peter Moody-trained Northern Meteor mare Runway Star has been heavily backed in from $7 to $5 with Linda Meech to ride the four-year-old.
The in-form galloper has won two of her past three runs this autumn but only went up to stakes company last time out in Adelaide when beating Riziz home in the Listed Matrice Stakes (1200m) at Morphettville on March 9.
Also under $10 for the Bel Esprit win this autumn are Sabatini ($6.50) in the outside alley, Politeness ($9) with Dwayne Dunn riding from gate five and Thermal Current ($9) one wider in six.
So should you stick with the single figure hopes or go for an upset Bel Esprit Stakes result for value?
#9 Runway Star ($5)
She’s drawn wide but the money trail is still worth following here as she’s in flying form and they say don’t back a form mare when she’s running hot. Gets in on 54.5kg so is over four kilos better off than the other form mare in this race Gregers, a big advantage. She’s up in class but deserves a shot at this after her stakes success in Adelaide last time out. Big chance at the firming price.
#2 Gregers ($4.80)
She’s got the big weight in this (59kg) but gets things her way today just off the pace from barrier one, and the right hoop Craig Williams in the saddle. She’s second-up and flies two runs in (4-2-1-0) off the back of a good Moonee Valley second. She’ll improve off that, is a Group winner and will be hard to beat if she saves her best for the final 100m in a race that could be too slick for some of the other big chances.
#1 It Is Written ($16)
Top weight with 60kg gives weight away to some notable hopes but Robbie Griffiths’ six-year-old has class and looks ready to strike. The Caulfield record isn’t great, and is yet to win over the 1100m but was impressive when only two lengths off Lucky Hussler – one of the favourites in Sydney’s All Aged Stakes today – to run fourth in the Group 1 William Reid Stakes (1200m). Down in class and if he handles the weight will handle these rivals.
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